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SOME WORDS FROM AN EVENT PRODUCER DURING COVID-19 BY DANIELLE STOWLL | DUBUQUE, IA

Filed in: business

  

Last month I was writing down blog ideas and a light bulb went off in my head, “my brides want to hear from real people in the wedding industry, not just me.” So, that being said, Danielle with Wicked River Event Production popped into my head (we are currently working on a wedding together). I asked her to join me on a google hangout, and here we are. I wanted Danielle’s perspective on why it’s important to have a event producer at your event.
Check out what she says below along with a stellar local vendor list.

“What a week! Things are a *little* out of whack right now, eh?  If you’re a professional in the events industry, you’ve probably either pivoted to offer new products & services, or you’re waiting it out wondering when we’ll be able to hit the ground running again.

Trade shows and festivals are being cancelled. Conferences and fundraising galas are going digital. Weddings are becoming intimate with just a few close family members looking on instead of grand soirees where the dance floor’s packed all night.

So, what do you do when all your 2020 events are postponed or outright cancelled? For someone like me, an event producer who works with dozens of different vendors for any given event, maintaining relationships is so, so, so important. I recently sat down (i.e. did a Google hangouts video call in pajamas) with local photographer Nat Finley to talk about what’s going on in the wedding scene locally here in Dubuque, and the importance of putting together a winning team.

Not every vendor is a good fit for every couple. We know this. It comes down to style, priorities, and budget. I make all my new clients fill out a wedding priorities questionnaire before we even TALK vendors. This way I know what’s super-important-must-have vs. what can be compromised on, or eliminated all together if it comes down to it for one reason or another (let’s be honest, the reason is almost always budget).

After moving here from Montana, Nat’s found that most of her business comes by way of Instagram. I, on the other hand, have lived in Dubuque for close to a decade, so word of mouth has been hugely advantageous for my business. 

It doesn’t matter where you find your vendors for an event, as long as they suit your needs and do great work. 

My Instagram sucks. I mean it’s fine, but it’s mostly just photos I’ve taken myself on my phone. No color scheme, no theme, no cool graphic message when you look at the full feed. It’s not that I don’t care (I am an “Elder Millennial” after all) that’s just not where I’m super savvy. But whatever – I’m busy getting sh** done at your event!

That’s why having the right professionals in place makes a huge difference. I’m the one making sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I love working with people like Nat because she makes my job easy. When you’ve got people in place who know what they’re doing, I can get out of the way and let them do their thing. 

This may surprise you, but I’m no Oprah. I do, however, want to share some of my favorite things with you

WEDDING VENDOR EDITION:

I’m currently in awe of the skills these folks bring to the table. I say “currently” because this list changes all the time, based on what projects I’m tackling. Right now, everybody’s rescheduling everything. Flexibility, poise, and professionalism matter A LOT when sh** hits the fan. Well, the fan is stuck on high and these folks can go with the flow.

WHO: Clara Joyce Flowers
WHAT: Locally-grown flowers
WHY: Drew is constantly innovating at his farm. Their operation has ramped up significantly the last few years, with a commitment to sustainability and super-high-quality blooms. I’ve never been told an order is too big or too small. They can put together something uniquely beautiful, no matter what it’s for.

WHO: Unique Events
WHAT: Rentals, design, floral, and DJ services
WHY: This place has EVERYTHING. I can put the moving parts & pieces of an event together with ease, but my brain’s almost always thinking about function over form. The folks at Unique Events have designers & stylists who bring aesthetics to the forefront so everything looks incredible and flows well, too. If they don’t already have what you’re looking for in their rental catalog, they can build it. PLUS you can rent a light-up dance floor with their DJ service, OMG.

WHO: Second To None Designs
WHAT: Rentals & design services
WHY: Whether she’s on a lift hanging fabric from a 30 ft. ceiling or helping me build a string light tunnel over a 160 person outdoor dining table, Cathy’s creativity and drive ALWAYS amazes me. She can perfectly execute any decor scheme you’ve got in your head.

WHO: Beth’s Custom Cakes & Dessert Catering
WHAT: Appetizers & desserts
WHY: Not only can she come up with delicious custom sweets & cakes, Beth’s savory appetizers are always crowd-pleasers. Her food tastes amazing and the displays are always beautifully set up. Not every caterer gets it, but we eat with our eyes first, don’t we?!

WHO: Tri-State Event Professionals (TEP)
WHAT: Association for local event professions
WHY: If you really don’t know where to start (ahem, you can always give me a call), or you want to plan everything yourself, but need to get a better idea of who’s out there in terms of vendors, this group was created to encourage collaboration over competition. They are a who’s who of the best of the best in the area. Sure, your brother-in-law’s cousin’s girlfriend might make yummy cookies, but can she really bake authentic French macarons for your Paris-themed wedding? Probably not, but Sandrine can, and folks at TEP can help you find someone like her. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the talented people in our area. Check these folks out, you guys. Not just for weddings, but any event that could use their services. Better yet, drop me a line so I can help you put together your A-Team.”

  


Photo by by Gigantic Design Co.

 

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